7 Tips for Drinking Whiskey in the Summer

Whiskey Drink

Hello again, I'm back with part two of our three-part summer whiskey blog series. Now that you've learned some interesting facts about whiskey and have, no doubt, impressed your friends, we will now discuss some ideas on how best to mix whiskey in the summer months. 

With the resurgence of whiskey over the past years, there is no better time to enjoy this wonderful spirit. Below are seven ideas on how to make this summer a whiskey summer...


  1. Drink it cold. Whiskey loves ice, ice loves whiskey. Where one would usually stir traditional whiskey cocktails, try shaking it with lots of ice or use shaved ice which has more surface area to contact the beverage and chill it down quickly.
  2. Mix with stone fruits. San Diego in the summertime is ripe with flavorful varieties of stone fruits, also called drupes. Try mixing in some ripe peaches, plums, apricots or nectarines, just to name a few.
  3. Choose younger whiskies. Whiskey lovers enjoy the rare, complex flavors that extra time in the barrel can bring. Some of the rarest and oldest whiskies can fetch hefty prices on the secondary markets. Insider's Secret: Most limited whiskey releases are in the fall. So, get out and enjoy the sunshine. There will be plenty of time to search in vain for Pappy Van Winkle in October. My favorite young whiskey at the moment is WhipperSnapper juvenile whiskey from Oregon. Try it in your next summer cocktail—you'll find plenty of flavor and surprisingly little harshness, which many younger whiskies tend to have.
  4. Save your cocktail bitters for fall. This one is hard for me to write as I'm a huge fan of cocktail bitters. But, the guests at your next summer soiree will thank you for serving refreshing beverages over complex, direct whiskey cocktails.
  5. How about white dog (unaged whiskey) and moonshine? No need for a whiskey barrel during a heat wave. A go-to for many local bartenders is San Diego's own Ballast Point Devil's Share Moonshine. With notes of caramelized bananas, candy corn, nuts, and citrus fruit, this local spirit can really shine in your summer cocktails. 
  6. Make a tastier tea. Tea and bourbon are a natural pairing, try a little with your next Arnold Palmer!
  7. Mix with summer fruits and vegetables. Champion all things local and make yourself a tasty drink at the same time by mixing in produce from your garden or local farmer's market. The key to making a quality cocktail is balance. If you balance the flavors in your drink, you'll be amazed at how many flavor combinations can work with whiskey!

Keep these seven tips in mind and you’ll be sipping the “water of life” all the way through Labor Day. For more inspiration, check out part three of this blog series where I share three simple and flavorful whiskey cocktail recipes perfect for summertime sipping. Or, stop by Level2 and we'll be happy to mix you up a delicious whiskey beverage.


Stephen Kurpinsky
Spirits & Beer Director/Barman

(Main Image Courtesy of Stephen Kurpinsky)